Occasionally, I’ll scour the podcast universe looking for other podcasts that focus on great business books. I recently found Business Books & Co. created by three friends who went to college together. There are ten to twelve shows per season, and they recently wrapped up their third season. I listened to one show and then another. In about three weeks, I listened to their entire episode catalog. I love this show, and I’ll continue to be a loyal listener.
At the time of this recording, the three co-hosts were on hiatus before starting their fourth season. But I still wanted more. And that’s when I decided to invite the moderator to the show to talk about this binge-worthy podcast. His name is David Kopec, and he did not disappoint.
- The origin story of Business Books & Co.
- The value of a small book club
- How books are selected for each episode
- Author interviews
- The preparation process for each monthly show
- David’s favorite episodes
- Mark’s favorites
- Books that David did not like
My Five Favorite Episodes
This is difficult. Every show has been great. If the show intrigues you, consider the five picks as merely a starting point.
- Let it go by Stepanie Shirley may not be my overall favorite, but it’s a sentimental pick. I listened to this episode twice, listened to the book, and then I read it. Stephanie ‘Steve’ Shirley is now one of my business heroes. I had never heard of her until this conversation about her and the book.
- Brick by Brick is another episode I listened to twice. Afterward, I watched a Lego documentary and read Brick by Brick. I liked the historical narrative of Lego and the final chapter, but I’d only give the book three out of five stars. Yet, the episode was excellent.
- I loved the book No Rules Rule. Accordingly, this was a fantastic conversation, and I was curious if the co-hosts would mention some of the big ideas I captured in my notes.
- I frequently recommend the essays of Paul Graham to peers and clients. I’ve never read Hackers and Painters, which includes Paul’s online articles. Accordingly, I enjoyed hearing the casual conversation about the selected texts they pulled from this book. Incidentally, parts of this book are perfect book club material.
- I think Made in Japan was the first show I listened to, and I played it again – mainly because I was fascinated by how this threesome pulled off a conversation that could have been a dull one. It wasn’t. My biggest disappointment–there is no Kindle version of this 1987 book.
David’s TED Talk Material
David and I are both lifelong learners. We both enjoy reading, and we both want to see the generation before us embracing this discipline.
Accordingly, I was curious what David would tell a group of high school students on the topic of reading if he were delivering a TED presentation. His response was so good I’m including the text below:
When I was young, I thought I was invincible. And I thought I was so much smarter than everybody else. As you get older you learn that you’re not both of those things. You learn that you’re not smarter than most people and you learn you’re also not invincible.
You can get so much from other people’s life experiences. And one way to get other people’s life experiences is of course, to make them as friends and get to know them personally. But there’s nothing more personal reading a narrative about how somebody overcame the odds to start a business. It’s actually a very personal story.
Some of these books include personal anecdotes, and some of them stay just on the business side. But either way, you learn something about that person’s character, you learn about how they’re spending their days, and you learne about how they overcame obstacles. And I think there’s a lot of great insights there for every young person.
I’ve have also learned that being an educator over the past seven years teaching computer science to college students, almost nobody fails out of college because they’re not smart enough. In fact, I’ve seen maybe a couple, it’s very rare. People fail out of college because they lack time management skills, or they lack the kind of work ethic they need to be successful in college.
You can actually develop [that work ethic] by reading about the struggles of other people. So one way, of course, is just to do the work. And that’s great. But sometimes you need a little inspiration.
Reading these business narratives gives you that perspective. And I think it helps you in your life, as we learn in the book, the Return to the Little Kingdom. There’s a 30-day period that was make or break for Apple when they got their very first order from the byte shop for the Apple I. They had to make the each of those computers which took them six hours to make. And in one month, somehow the two of them with just a little bit help from some friends and family had to build all those computers.
That’s a pivotal moment in your life. And some people go through that. And they don’t even realize it’s happening. They don’t even realize that the hard work needed right now is possible. But we just need to button down and do it.
That’s the two Steve’s. They and their friends and family made it through that month. It’s totally possible. But if you were an outsider who was coming into that situation for the first time, you might not even realize that this is possible and doable in the next month. Right?
And so I think that kind of perspective about values about about obstacles, is one of the most valuable things you get out of both business books and also out of kind of biographies and a lot of nonfiction narratives more generallyDavid Kopec, Co-founder and Moderator of Business Books and Co.
- Business Books and Co.
- The Amazon Book Club
- David’s Twitter account
- Podcast – Kopec Explains Software
- LinkedIn profile
- Personal website
- David’s books, including Classic Computer Science Problems in Python
If you liked this episode, consider the following for your next listen:
Return to the Little Kingdom
David Kopec joins me to talk about his favorite book on the backstory and early years of Apple Inc. LINK
Behind the Scenes at The Soul of Enterprise Podcast
Our other favorite show is The Soul of Enterprise, and we visit with Ed Kless, one of the co-hosts, to talk about the making of this great show. LINK